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E-M:/ Re: Grant Trigger's comments

Enviro-Mich message from Janet Kauffman <eng_kauffman@online.emich.edu>

Mr. Trigger is concerned that rhetoric is damaging
farming.  I am concerned that the rhetoric of
“farm” issues is damaging far too many
perspectives about what _industrial_ agriculture
is all about and what constitutes appropriate
manure management for industrial facilities.  Dry
manure mixed with straw is one thing; it composts
with soils, and small and medium-sized farms are
able to use it appropriately as fertilizer.

Lagoon and liquification systems of industrial
livestock facilities, like the dairy CAFOs in
Lenawee and Hillsdale Counties, are another
story.  It’s not a “farm” story.  It’s an
industrial story.  The liquification of feces and
urine, spray-irrigation, and especially spraying
on frozen soils, often leads to direct
contamination of surface waters, which is illegal
in Michigan. We’ve had 12 illegal manure
discharges in this area in the last 2 years,
including 2 just in November contaminating the
Bean/Tiffin watershed.

Small wastewater treatment plants are required for
campgrounds (Lake Hudson Recreation Area for
instance); such plants can be sized for the
facility.  The drier (drier is the important
thing) sludge can be spread or injected as
fertilizer.  Wastewater treatment makes sense, and
should be required, especially where soils are
heavily tiled as they are here.  Before
settlement, this part of Michigan was woodland
swamp.  Underground drainage tiles are installed
in every field in this part of Michigan.  The
tiles become major conduits of pollutants –
they’re _ designed _ to transport liquids into

Wastewater treatment simply assures that the
liquid part of manure is cleaned up and returned
to the environment as nonpolluting water.  The
nutrients in the solids would still function as

The liquified manure of industrial livestock
facilities has proven to be a major pollutant in
watersheds all over the country.  It’s not sprawl
or suburban newcomers complaining here – I’ve
lived in the area all my adult life, I’ve farmed
hay, restored wetlands, worked to protect the
stream on my farm.

We have unimaginably beautiful and valuable
streams and water resources in Michigan.
Protecting them should be the priority of all
farmers, industrialists, environmentalists, sport
fishermen – all of us.

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